But, you do know that the teams ahead of RSL actually had to play games -- not just luck into a playoff like Mexico did -- to get a chance at winning the Shield.
What happened in the past two weeks while Real Salt Lake sunned themselves in 40 degree weather next to a trailer park at America First Field was nothing short of miraculous.
And while Jason Kreis' boys lounged in the cold pool massaging their aching muscles after one day of two-a-days and an abbreviated preseason that included a spirited intra-squad scrimmage and a few days of training, the other teams fell flat.
There wasn't a vacation for Real Salt Lake, and there certainly wasn't one for the other teams chasing RSL.
Seattle lost two in a row, Colorado fell flat and the LA Galaxy and New York sat idle, leaving Portland to ascend everyone in the Western Conference and tie the Red Bulls for the unofficial Supporters Shield lead.
Now, every team with the exception of LA Galaxy and Montreal has two games left. And Real Salt Lake takes on Portland this weekend in what is sure to be a classic.
Here's how the race for the Supporters shield stacks up going into the October 19 weekend:
New York Red Bulls - 53 pts, 2 games left
Next up: At Houston (10-20); vs. Chicago (10-27)
The Red Bulls tied New England in their last game on Oct. 5 and haven't played since. Like Real Salt Lake, New York will be coming off a two-week layoff in which it opted to get some R & R -- as opposed to going full-bore all-out like Jason Kreis did, resembling Will Ferrell's character in the hit kids flick, "Kicking and Screaming."
In the immortal words of former RSL man and now-Red Bull Jonny Steele, he "might bring in some girls from Miami to heat up the city."
No word on whether Kreis approves (he probably wouldn't) or whether he donned the matching leopard-print, striped warmup suit like Ferrell or had a giant bronze-plated coffee machine on the sideline while his boys kicked the crap outta each other. Methinks not, but you never know.
As for other Red Bulls news, then Steele's car "broke down," according to his Twitter tweeter thingy -- and his "mate" come done picked him up.
And, in other soccer/vacation news, the second-most loaded team in MLS might get back Shawn Wright-Phillips from injury (as if Red Bulls opponents needed any more stars to play against). He trained with the team today.
Portland Timbers - 53 pts, 2 games left
Next up: vs. Real Salt Lake (10-19); at Chivas USA (10-26)
In the immortal words of Todd Hoffman, fellow Oregonian and star of the hit TV show, "Gold Rush," "where the frigg did these guys come from?" Nowhere, that's where.
The Timbers were sitting at 49 points last time we caught up with them -- but now they've tied Vancouver -- who whupped Seattle -- and then stunned the Sounders themselves 1-0 inside MLS' version of Anfield (and if you don't believe me, go watch a game sometime).
The fans were so on top of the Sounders and Clint Dempsey you could smell the patchouli while watching bearded men and women chuck flares into a clear gray sky. Now I'm sure the Timbers Army could also go for a bacon donut deep fried in bacon greased leavings -- but first their beloved Portland must knock off Real Salt Lake Saturday.
Of course, if you know anything about this rivalry RSL has won the last two of three (they tied the third meeting) and so the Timbers have an uphill battle, to say the least.
That said, Portland is a very difficult place to play, for obvious reasons -- and this game is the biggest the Timbers have ever played in the history of their franchise. (Sorry, Pele and Soccer Cup fans, but it's true.) The whole place could go "Timberrrrr!" with an errant chainsaw -- and Kreis may do it himself if RSL loses.
The Timbers could take their reserve Timber Army to Chivas USA, fat bearded men and women in suspenders and lederhosen all, to win that game.
Real Salt Lake - 52 pts, 2 games left
Next up: at Portland (10-19); vs Chivas USA (10-23)
Real Salt Lake is treating this next game against Portland like it is the World Championship of Regular Season Games (or, the WCRSG). They underwent a two-a-day, one-a-day (or vise versa) and squared off against their own team in a loser-gets-shot one-off.
In this WCRSG RSL will take on Portland, which goes by the acronym of FU. You know when Tanner Boyle in the classic Netflix miscreant sports hit "Bad News Bears: Breaking Training" said that Kelly Leak and his dad "didn't really like each other?" and both Bill Devane and 13-year-old Kelly took long, contemplative drags from their cigs?
That about sums up the relationship between these two teams and coaches that are fairly identical in their approach to the game, but deep down would rather smash each other over the head with a two-by-four -- which Jason Kreis will then fashion into a cabinet to store said WCRSG trophy. (Unofficially.)
I somehow doubt the Timbers Army would allow Kreis to use their chainsaw -- so he'll have to improvise on that one.
When we last left off with these not-jokers, Real Salt Lake had a two-week break. If RSL wins in Portland then they would move ahead of the Timbers for the rest of Saturday -- then wait to see what happens Sunday when the Red Bulls get off their vacation and step on the field with more faded star power than a Comic Con.
All joking aside, RSL will then take the field to play Chivas USA. Kreis would love to call up BYU's mens PDL team to play these jokers and win big but he can't so he'll have to play his reserves for 45 minutes -- then call in the vets who'd rather be in Miami to finish them off. Speaking of jokers, look who's just behind RSL in the race for the Shield...
Seattle Sounders FC - 51 pts, 2 games left
Next up: at FC Dallas (10-19); vs LA Galaxy (10-27)
If you were to look up the word under-perform in the Oct. 2013 MLS Soccer Urban Dictionary (if there was one), a picture of Clint Dempsey in a Sounders kit would be right next to it.
More heralded than Ryan Leaf (Northwest peeps will get this oblique reference) Dempsey came into Major League Soccer expecting to take it by storm. After all, he was last starring in the English Premier League, which besides Spain, is the second-best pro league in the world.
And after the "Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?" Twitter frenzy ensued and his sideshow of an unveiling in front of 65,000 screaming fans, you would expect the Beatle wannabe would have a few goals to his credit, right? So far, Clint has scored exactly zero goals and zero assists in seven games (four started). But, jersey sales are through the roof!
Of course, marketing savvy has little to do with actually playing the game. The Sounders are 0-for-October, losing badly to Colorado and Vancouver and just losing to bitter rival Portland is like eating a sea snail (try one if you don't agree) if you're a Seattle fan.
The last two games are at FC Dallas, who is already eliminated from the playoffs (and therefore will probably not care); and the Galaxy, who unlike the Hoops of Pizza Hut in BFE will care because they are not eliminated and in fact have the best chance to win the Shield. Was Seattle born under a bad sign? Maybe. After all, it never rains in Southern California.
LA Galaxy - 48 pts, 3 games left
Next up: vs Montreal (10-16); vs San Jose (10-20); at Seattle (10-27)
If there is any team that has benefited more from the scheduling gods of Major League Soccer, I'd like to know who. It's like Donald Garber's assistant just teleported back and forth between NYC and LA on a red-eye (or maybe it was magic) to make sure that the Galaxy's needs were being met.
Maybe she had a conference call with CONCACAF officials (we all know how trustworthy they are) and Robbie Keane's supermodel wifey poo to double-check on LA's availability. And don't ever discount the power of Bruce Arena's daughter; you know how savvy news anchors are.
Whatever went down, it seems to have helped the Galaxy, who have two straight games at home versus a gritty Montreal team still clinging to playoff hopes and a San Jose side that is one point out from these two beneficiaries of scheduling mercy (Montreal also has three games left).
For that very reason (and because this is apparently the season nobody can predict correctly) I predict LA will lose both games -- but beat Seattle because this apparently is not the Sounders year. So what if the Galaxy have only lost once since August (1-0 at Portland, late September); it's anything goes this season -- just ask everyone.
Houston Dynamo - 48 pts, 2 games left
Next up: vs New York (10-20); at DC United (10-27)
The Dynamo have about a horse's chance in bull pucky of winning the Shield. First, the Galaxy -- with their assisted gift of a schedule -- need to lose tonight against Montreal. Then, the scenario for Houston to win is more confusing than a carnival barker at a weddin. So instead of going into a bunch of what-if's it's purty simple: Houston has to win its last two games. Click with your toothpick, fellas.
Colorado Rapids - 48 pts, 2 games left
Next up: vs vancouver (10-19); at Vancouver (10-27)
The Rapids -- this year's version of "Rudy" -- are somehow still in the race for the Shield (albeit by the hair on their chinny-chin-chin). They shocked the world by not only appearing on the field in uniform, they also blasted Seattle like Coach Dan Devine telling little Ruettiger he wasn't cut out to play for Notre Dame and laughed AT the kid, the little five-foot-nuthin, a-hunnerd-n-nuthin...
Of course, this didn't sit well with Rudy (Uh, Colorado) who went out and scored five goals, one in the first 30 seconds. And so, Colorado will have to beat its twin brother twice (Er, Vancouver, who also upset the Sounders) to have a letterman's chance at the Shield -- cause the Rapids didn't beat San Jose. Hail to victory! Long live the underdog!!